For the first time Pakistan will display three naval vessels, including a submarine, at the International Defense Exhibition and Conference, Feb. 17-20 in Abu Dhabi.
IDEX is one of the world's leading armaments exhibitions.
"With the regional security situation becoming complex and uncertain at times, Pakistan's defense industry is compelled to develop a response that is proportionate to challenges that lies ahead," Pakistan Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates Jameel Ahmad Khan said at a news conference at the Pakistani Embassy in Abu Dhabi as reported by Gulf News.
"Our defense industry offers affordable military defense solutions. The significance and prominence of our presence in IDEX is Pakistan offering all its defense products at very affordable prices that can easily be afforded by regional countries which include the Middle East and North Africa."
Khan said defense production is gaining significance due to a fast-changing security environment around the globe.
"In the first world war and the second world war, they were conventional wars, now the enemy is not visible, this has been compounded by borderless enemies," he said." Borderless enemies like al-Qaida and others.
"Displaying our naval vessels, the submarine (PNS Khalid) and two other vessels, the PNS Jurrat and PNS Shah Jahan, have all been modified and upgraded indigenously in Pakistan."
Khan said Pakistan has more than two dozen main and auxiliary units taking part in IDEX. That presence enhances relations and military co-operation with the United Arab Emirates.
"Events like this provide a unique opportunity for our defense-related industries both in public and private sectors to display their products and to interact directly with the defense industry of the developed world," he said.
Major Pakistani armaments companies displaying their wares at IDEX include the Defense Export Promotion Organization, Global Industrial and Defense Solutions), Heavy Industries Taxila, Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works Ltd, National Radio and Telecommunications Corp. and Pakistan Ordinance Factories, among others, Gulf News reported.
The IDEX exhibition is significant for Pakistan for a number of reasons. As Khan noted, given the increasing number of piracy attacks in the region, maritime defense ships have an increased importance for nations border the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean and Pakistani warships are an affordable military defense option.
The PNS Khalid will undoubtedly attract the most attention, as a diesel-electric submarine being exported by a Muslim nation. PNS Khalid is an Agosta 90B class submarine designed by France's DCN International. In Sept. 1994, the Pakistani government and DCN International signed a contract for the supply of three Agosta 90-B submarines. The contract stipulated for the second and third Agosta 90Bs to be built Karachi under a technology transfer program.
The first Agosta 90B, PNS Khalid, was built at DCN's Cherbourg yard and commissioned in 1999. The PNS Saad, assembled at Karachi Naval Dockyard under a DCN-Pakistani joint venture, was launched in August 2002 and was commissioned in December 2003, while the third Agosta 90B class boat, PNS Hamza, constructed in Karachi, was launched in August 2006 and was commissioned in September 2008.